Written, drawn, printed, collated, folded, and stapled the DIY way: self-published and self-distributed mini comics are the labor of an underground comics industry, a subculture that thrives and depends on the selling and trading of these handcrafted booklets. In this community, there are no barriers to entry, no profiteering, and no cookie-cutter normalcy; the only limits are what the hand can draw. For more than 40 years, these tiny tomes have been fueling the alternative comics scene, and Treasury of Mini Comics is a gigantic compendium of the world’s smallest comics from some of today’s biggest names. Experience a celebration of folded-paper creations from cartoonists such as Jim Woodring, John Porcellino, Leela Corman, David Lasky, Marc Bell, Roberta Gregory, Dylan Williams, Kelly Froh, and many more!
Before there was Mome, before the current explosion of small-press anthologies, there was Blood Orange, the short-lived mid-'00s series edited by Chris Polkki which gathered rising stars of the art-comics scene in four distinctive, beautifully designed 48-page issues. Blood Orange captured the pulse of alt-comics circa 2004-2005. We recently recovered a small quantity of shrink-wrapped packs of all 4 issues from the distributor, and we're now offering them via mail-order for the special low price of $17.85 — that's 3 issues for the price of 4! (You can also get the individual issues for $5.95 each.)
In the first issue: Nicolas Mahler, Rick Altergott, Michael Kupperman, Lauren Weinstein, Typex, David Collier, Maaike Hartjes, Allison Cole, Tobias Tak, Dan James, Marc Bell, John Hankiewicz, Matthew Thurber, Kevin Huizenga, Ron Regé Jr., a sketchbook from Gary "Teacher's Pet" Baseman, and covers by Andrew Brandou.
The second issue continues to encourage experimentation, pushing the medium in new directions. Look for innovative stories from groundbreakers such as Archer Prewitt, Rebecca Dart, Chris Wright (with a full-length 18-page story), Ron Regé Jr., Jeffrey Brown, Matti Hagelberg, Lauren Weinstein, Cole Johnson, Helge Reumann, and Fabio Viscogliosi, along with drawings by Renee French... all wrapped in a lovely cover designed by the one and only Steven Weissman.
The third issue of this always-surprising quarterly anthology series features European cartoonists Pakito Bolino and Caroline Sury (of France's Le Dernier Cri), Ulf K., Alex Baladi, Nicolas Mahler, Olaf Ladousse, and Fabio Zimbres; as well the homegrown talents of Anders Nilsen, Renee French and Ben Jones (Paper Rad). Also includes a brand-new 11-pager by Jeffrey Brown! With an eye-popping cover by French illustrator Olivier Douzou.
Blood Orange #4 wraps up the series with exclusive new stories by Brian Ralph, Lark Pien, Tobias Tak, Rebecca Dart and Ted May. Covers by Lark Pien.
As the saying goes, they like 'em big in Texas, so it was surely appropriate that Jim Woodring brought the giant pen to Houston for its first public demonstration outside the Seattle area! (Was it brought as a carry-on??)
The appearance took part at the opening night of Walpurgis Afternoon, a joint art show with Mike-Baehr-doppelgänger Marc Bell at Houston's Lawndale Art Center. We've got some pictures from the show, thanks to attendee Alex Barber. Check out his entire set of photos on his Flickr set.
The internet says a "walpurgis" is, "the eve of May Day, observed in some European countries and in some Scandinavian communities in the United States in celebration of spring and marked by music, singing, and bonfires." ...And giant pens.
Jim, keeping it kid-friendly.
Jim invites Marc up to draw.
Marc, inking a drawing of liquid paper.
Jim invites the crowd up for a go. (You can see Marc's finished liquid paper drawing here, too!) [Update: The man wielding the pen here, Jason Willis, has stepped forward on Twitter to identify himself. Thanks Jason! – Ed.]
Houstonians, get ready for a double whammy with an amazing double bill: Jim Woodring and Marc Bell come together for Walpurgis Afternoon, a joint art show at Houston's Lawndale Art Center which opens on Friday, April 22, 2011. As part of the opening reception, Jim will give a demonstration of the mighty giant dip pen, only its second public performance and the first outside of Seattle. And the following day, Saturday, April 23, Jim and Marc appear at Domy Books in Houston for a comics signing from 6-8 PM. Unmissable!
Right Thing the Wrong Way: The Story of Highwater Books
October 1st-October 24th
Opening Reception October 1st 6-9pm
Fourth Wall Project 132 Brookline Ave Boston, MA 02215
For seven years (and one miscounted eighth anniversary party) Highwater Books was snobby, high-concept, iconoclastic, poorly-business modeled publishing company that ran itself into the ground. Highwater published books late, promised them and never published them at all and even withheld its books from distributors on principle. The company asked its artists to fold mini-comics and stand behind convention tables and sell their wares to a public that did not know what to make of them. It hatched plans, plots and schemes, and it may have been the most important comic publisher of the early part of the century. Over those seven or so years, Highwater elevated the concept of design in the comics world; It emphasized independent and DIY attitudes in an increasingly corporate society, and it published some of the most important artists in comics. In October, Fourth Wall Project celebrates Highwater and a selection of its artists with a group art exhibition: Right Thing the Wrong Way: The Story of Highwater Books.
Starting with the opening party on October 1st and on view for three weeks, Right Thing the Wrong Way will display new and archival works by the artists central to Highwater Books: Brian Ralph, Greg Cook, Jef Czekaj, Jordan Crane, Kurt Wolfgang, Marc Bell, Megan Kelso, and Ron Rege. Along with the artists work, there will be an installation celebrating the strange history of the company. The organizers (TD Sidell, Emily Arkin, Brooke Corey, Jef Czekaj, and Greg Cook) will construct a mini-museum within the gallery, displaying ephemera (both finished and unfinished), half formed concept pieces, and plain old junk that made Highwater special. In lieu of a traditional catalog the organizers, in conjunction with Bodega Distribution, have put together an oral history of the company that will manifest in a short-run publication (natch!) for the show. Compiled and edited by Highwater artist and Phoenix art critic Greg Cook, the oral history will act as a companion to the show with the artists and "employees" of Highwater telling the story themselves.